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MI health experts recommend nearly every Michigander wear masks when gathering indoors

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Michigan health officials say people should be particularly vigilant about COVID safety as they plan indoor Thanksgiving events.

As Michigan sees an upswing in COVID-19 cases, health experts are urging people to stay vigilant as they plan indoor Thanksgiving celebrations.

On Friday, the state issued a public health advisory recommending everyone over the age of two should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status.

Rising COVID-19 numbers are stretching hospitals to full capacity, and the vast majority of those patients are unvaccinated.

The state's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian says these metrics are “extremely concerning.”

“We’re seeing widespread community transmission in all age groups. We’re seeing troubling trends in other seasonal respiratory viruses, and our health care systems are feeling the strain,” said Bagdasarian. “I encourage all Michiganders to do their part.”

As Thanksgiving approaches, officials continue to urge thorough hand washing, mask wearing and getting vaccinated.

Bagdasarian says while it’s hard to predict the course of the virus over the winter, individual behavior will determine whether cases dwindle or intensify.

“I think if we can change behavior and if we can get people to start masking and increase those vaccination rates, we have hope of this ending soon,” she said. “If behavior doesn’t change, I think we’re in for a very rough winter season.”

Bagdasarian says while cases are increasing across all age groups, people over 65 are getting vaccinated at higher rates than young adults.

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.